tepaki lobbies publicly for bill


Property developer Tim Tepaki has started lobbying publicly as criticism builds in the Cook Islands over his Unit Titles Bill. A 15 minute "Tepaki Group public relations" advertorial was shown shortly before tonight's CITC and Wattyl Local News on CITV. In a voice-over in Maori, the Tepaki Group advertorial explains advantages of the Unit Titles bill. This includes how the bill would allow hotel and other developments to go ahead without landowners losing rights to their land. A few minutes later, in the CITV news, Justice minister Tupou Faireka confirms the bill will not be debated during the current session of Parliament, as reported on Avaiki Nius last night. "We will be holding a select committee meeting to get the views of the public, how they view the bill, whether they support it and what effect it might have on the future of the country." Faireka says the current session of parliament will set the terms of reference for the select committee to look at. He did not say what those terms of reference would be. However Faireka expressed support for the bill. "If a leasee decides to build five units on a piece of land he can sublet or sell it to anyone to recover any money he has spent." Landowners would also benefit, he says, including from any Tepaki Group deal. "One per cent of every unit that has been sold by Tepaki Group will go to Pa," he told Cook Islands Television, referring to landowner Pa Ariki. Faireka said parliament would next sit in June, two to three months from now. "That might be the time to pass it then."